Pipes: It’s not Islam, it is Islam, it’s not Islam, it is Islam, it’s not Islam …

To his credit, Daniel Pipes has never been a supporter of President Bush’s Muslim democratization policy, which has just brought about its latest inevitable disaster, the electoral success of Hamas. In his column today, Pipes points out how the U.S. policy of pushing democracy on the Islamic world is “bringing to power the most deadly enemies of the West.”

What went wrong? Why has a democratic prescription that’s proven successful in Germany, Japan and other formerly bellicose nations not worked in the Middle East?

A good question. Unfortunately, he then engages in his usual evasions:

It’s not Islam or some cultural factor that accounts for this difference; rather, it is the fact that ideological enemies in the Middle East have not yet been defeated. Democratization took place in Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union after their populations had endured the totalitarian crucible. By 1945 and 1991, they recognized what disasters fascism and communism had brought them, and were primed to try a different path.

That’s not the case in the Middle East, where a totalitarian temptation remains powerfully in place.

So, Islamic radicalism is not driven by belief in Islam, it is driven by modern totalitarian ideology. This of course is one of Pipes’s stock arguments. But then, in the very next sentence, he writes:

Muslims across the region—with the singular and important exception of Iran—are drawn to the Islamist program with its slogan that “Islam is the solution.”

So it’s not the “totalitarian” temptation that motivates the Muslims, it’s the Islamic temptation.

This is quintessential Pipes—flagrantly, floridly, spectacularly contradicting himself from one article to the next, and even from one sentence to the next, as I have demonstrated at length. And, what is worse, he keeps getting away with it, because no one, with the exception of myself, ever points it out publicly and explicitly.

Pipes is too influential a person, and the topics he writes about are too serious, for him to be allowed to be so careless and indeed reckless in his published writings. If his peers in the conservative establishment fail to take him to task for it, he will continue in his career of irresponsible contradiction. But that returns us to the problem just referred to, the absence of real debate in today’s society. Today’s leftists, as they’ve demonstrated over and over, are unable or unwilling to engage in rational public discussion, while today’s conservatives only direct their critical faculties at the left, never at their fellow conservatives. As a result, the conservatives—and especially a star like Pipes—have become the equivalent of a multicultural group. Like blacks, like homosexual rights advocates, like feminists, they are free to sound off and say whatever they please, without being subject to objective standards of logic and non-contradiction. The loss of common standards of rationality, and thus of the mutual corrections that make for truthful intellectual discourse, does not bode well for conservatism or for America.

For those who want to look into this subject further, here is a selection of my critical writings about Pipes.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 27, 2006 07:39 PM | Send

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